A Multimedia Exhibition by Leong Ka Tai, 18 Mar 2016 — 30 May 2016
The role of sea and land travel in human culture is reflected in a variety of art forms, with oceans often depicted as hostile environments – full of sea monsters and storms, but they can also be tranquil retreats for contemplation. This year, Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) and Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Lee Wai Lee) are in collaboration with one of the city’s most celebrated photographers, Leong Ka Tai, to host “Over the Ocean, On the Road”. Leong creates a trilogy of visual journeys from an array of still photographs, videos and performances, along with a specially created interactive installation, to provoke thoughts on slow living and the true significance travel holds.
Leong and his wife Rebecca Ng embarked on a unique nomadic voyage in late October 2013. They left Hong Kong for South America, crossing the Pacific Ocean on a container ship in 35 days and continued the journey for three months on land, taking a circuitous route from Colombia to Cuba. “Over the Ocean, On the Road: A Multimedia Exhibition by Leong Ka Tai” is the fruit of the interrelationships among various forms of art media, springing from Leong’s initial master plan.
“Over the Ocean”, the first section of the two-part exhibition, demonstrates a time-lapse photographic record of the seascapes as seen from the vessel window. This “room with a view” sequence presented in undulating kinetics is a topology of their days at sea, a passage to silence revealed among the repeated appearance of the horizon. The “Message in a Bottle” project will be displayed at the centre of the gallery. Leong bottled the messages provided by his 32 artists and friends (including “anothermountainman” Stanley Wong, Zunzi, Ip Kam Hung and Mo Lai Yan Chi) and threw them into the Pacific Ocean during his journey with the date, time and GPS location of each throw registered. One of those bottles was retrieved eight months later in the Canadian territory by marine biologist Carla Crossman, who then made contact and exchanged views with Leong. The whole project was videotaped and will be shown via a large-scale video installation comprising of 32 television monitors.
The second section “On the Road” is Leong’s authentic photographic documentation of their journey on land, with a focus on the communities in Latin American countries including Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Cuba. As if he was an explorer, Leong excavated exotic cultural symbols through his camera lens with a fresh vision that captured the vivid colours and vibrant energy of these diverse regional cultures. Visitors are encouraged to experience Leong’s adventure through physical involvement by moving and looking around the installation so as to discover the precious essence and surprises of slow living through various multimedia expressions before the advent of globalisation.